The veteran action star reprised his titular role as US naval aviator Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Joseph Kosinski’s 2022 reboot of the 1986 original. Connelly played Cruise’s love interest in the new film, Penny Benjamin.
Action stars rarely receive a nomination for Best Actor, with that category typically honouring the stars of dramatic roles.
Asked if Cruise should buck that trend this year in an interview with Variety, Connelly confirmed that he should.
“He’s extraordinary,” she said. “He does an amazing job in the movie. He’s extraordinary as a person and fantastic as an actor, and I think that he is just perfect. He embodies that character so beautifully, and I think he absolutely deserves it.”
“I think that the film is a really well-made film and it’s really hard to make a film like that,” Connelly continued.
“Also, thinking about Tom’s work, think of the things that he did for that role. Besides all the stuff on the ground and how wonderful he is in those scenes and creating those relationships… I think the relationship he has with Miles’s character is so beautiful and moving. But the work that he did to accomplish those flying sequences, it’s something else.”
While a nomination for Maverick would be an outside bet, Cruise does have precedent in the Best Actor category. The star has three previous Oscar nominations for Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Jerry Maguire (1996), and Magnolia (1999).
At the recent Golden Globe Awards, however, Cruise – who was not in attendance – found himself as the butt of one of host Jerrod Carmichael’s jokes.
Connelly next stars in the dark comedy Bad Behaviour alongside Ben Whishaw and Alice Englert. The project does not yet have a release date.